Boy Genius Report: iOS 7 perfectly balances 'new' and 'now'
Boy Genius Report doesn't hesitate to criticize Apple — in fact, its writers often seem to revel in it. But their review of iOS 7, Apple's new operating system for the iPhone 4 and every iPhone model built since, caught my eye.
Zach Epstein still offers more than the recommended dose of subjectivity in his review — the critiques he offers are largely based on his taste and your mileage may vary. (Home page icons? "Some are just kind of ugly while others are downright embarrassing." The new tri-paneled Notification Center is "a pain," but why? Mostly because the weather isn't where he'd put it, apparently. The Camera app lacks "nifty new features" that "other companies pile on." On the other hand, Epstein points out that competitor Samsung's phones "are becoming so packed with all these features that users probably don’t even know many of them exist," and credits Apple for taking a different approach.)
But he does an excellent job of framing the question any technology company faces when considering an upgrade to a bread-and-butter product:
When you have a platform being used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, big changes are a gamble. Push the envelope too far and users panic. Don’t push it far enough and users get bored. … iOS 7 is a balancing act and Apple did a tremendous job of balancing new and now.
Personally, I suspect many of Apple's innovations in iOS 7 lie in the "tons of new APIs" Epstein points out. I've heard some of those, for example, include support for connections with Bluetooth devices, especially the low-energy devices supported in iPhone hardware ever since the 4S but not by iOS. There's also improved support for apps that need to continue operating while they're not on your iPhone screen. Put just those two things together, for example, and … well, I suspect I know why the Pebble folks have been so busy ever since the first developer release of iOS 7 was made available.